PhD candidate in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy

PhD candidate in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy

Published Deadline Location
11 Dec 1 Feb Amsterdam

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Job description

The  Molecular Photonics group of the Van't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) has a vacancy for a PhD candidate in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy. 

One of the major challenges of the 21st century is feeding the constantly growing world population. This requires an increase in agricultural and horticultural production, while the quality and quantity of arable land is rapidly declining. Recently, the BoostCrop consortium consisting of six European academic groups (and staff spanning Chemistry, Physics and Biology), one government institute and an SME with an outstanding track record for developing sustainable agro-technologies has been financed by the European Community’s Future and Emerging Technologies program to develop so-called molecular temperature controllers that can improve the germination and growth processes of plants. These molecules prevent cold stress, and the idea is to eventually process them in a spray to improve crop growth at low temperatures.

The PhD candidate to be appointed at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) will perform high-resolution laser spectroscopic studies on these molecular temperature controllers. Part of the research might also be performed at the Radboud University (RU) where the group has access to dedicated equipment for Free Electron Laser spectroscopic studies and equipment for state-of-the-art time-resolved studies. With these frequency- and time-domain studies you will determine the spectroscopic and dynamic properties of the electronically excited states of molecular temperature controllers and elucidate potential harmful decay channels. Together with the input from the other teams, this will form the basis for the development of novel molecular temperature controllers with properties tailored for the application of interest. As member of BoostCrop you will be working in a multidisciplinary environment encompassing synthesis, spectroscopy and photophysics, analytical chemistry, theory and computation, plant biochemistry, plant physiology, food safety and agricultural biotechnology. You will attend the regular meetings of BoostCrop in which the various teams report their progress, and will have the possibility to perform research at the laboratories of the other members if considered to be useful.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


What do we require of you?

  • A MSc. degree in a relevant field (physics or chemistry). If you have not finsihed your Masters yet, you can still apply. The starting date of your PhD contract will be slightly after the date that you obtain your Master;
  • have an affinity with experimental physical chemistry;
  • being able to work both independently and as a team member;
  • have good communication skills in the English language;
  • experience with experimental laser spectroscopy is a preferred but not restrictive condition.

Conditions of employment

The desired start date of the project is in March 2019 but excellence prevails over starting date.

The full-time appointment will be on a temporary base for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2,266 in the first year to € 2,897 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. This is excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable. 


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Van't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)

The Van't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science. HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The Molecular Photonics group is active in various areas of photophysical and photochemical research. One of the special areas is astrochemistry, aimed to enhance the interplay between chemistry and astronomy research by bringing state-of-the-art chemistry research to astronomical applications.


  • PhD positions
  • Natural Sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2266—€2897 per month
  • University Graduate
  • 18-745


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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